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College & Workforce Readiness

Common Standards, Accountability, the Feds, and Texas

By Catherine Gewertz — August 12, 2010 1 min read

The common-standards initiative is in transition. For a while, it was all about development. The next wave was about state adoptions. Now states and districts are trying to figure out how to turn the standards into teachable stuff for kids.

In that spirit, Kathleen Porter-Magee, over at the Fordham Institute’s Flypaper blog, cautions the field not to take its eyes off the accountability ball while it obsesses about implementation. Without setting clear student achievement goals and holding people accountable for the outcomes, she says, it will be “easy to ignore good curriculum.”

We’ve talked a lot in this space about federal funding incentives for states in adopting the common standards, and about some folks’ view that this amounts to federal intrusion on local education decisions. And that “don’t tread on me” spirit is alive and well.

Was I the only one amused, then, when the Ed Department chose to highlight the fact that Texas is getting $1 billion to stave off the loss of education jobs as a result the “edujobs” bill? That’s on top of the $6 billion-plus it’s already gotten in stimulus funds. Here, after all, is a state so averse to the federal scent that it that boycotted Race to the Top, refused to participate in the common standards, and, as we all know, is fond of the idea of seceding from the union. But $7 billion’s a lot to refuse.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.